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my name is Genny Chia.

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How to Regift Mindfully

lifestyle Nov 24, 2022
Hands wrapping a gift.

In my last blog post 'Mastering the Art of Thoughtful Gifting for Any Occasion', we discussed the art of gifting and how to give meaningful gifts that convey love, appreciation, and thoughtfulness. Now, let's talk about regifting. Is it okay to regift? Some people may regift the gifts they received to others. Even though such a practice may be frowned upon as it could be perceived as not respecting the effort made by the gifter, regifting remains a viable solution to some gifting situations. But how do you regift? Read on to find out how you could regift without disrespecting your gifter.

What is Regifting?

Regifting is giving someone a gift you'd previously received from someone else. While the gift is a great one, and you truly appreciate it, the item may not be serving your needs. Regifting allows a present received a chance to be put to good use by someone else who needs it more. This is provided the item is in excellent condition and is not serving the needs of the original recipient.

Most people shun regifting because it connotes passing things they don't value or find offensive. It is often a manifestation of one's surplus. Hence, recycling the item by giving it to someone else makes perfect practical sense instead of collecting dust in the attic, and for sustainability reasons.


Issues with Regifting?

Some folks find regifting unacceptable, often citing the following issues with the practice.

  • Hurts the recipient or original gift-giver's feelings

It shouldn't be a problem if neither the original gift-giver nor the recipient knows you're regifting the item. Sadly, this ideal scenario may not be the case all the time.

It's like this. How would you feel if the person you gifted gave the present to someone else? You might brush it aside, but some folks might take offence. Some might say it's okay, but they're hurting inside and feeling betrayed. Think about the effort and thoughts into that gift, you'd hope the gift will be appreciated by the recipient. 

  • Conveys a lack of respect, honesty, and consideration

Some people might also think regifting them is a sign you're too insincere to find them a more meaningful gift. You're conveying deceit and a lack of thoughtful consideration to what recipients might think and feel if they discover the present is a regift.

The regift-giver doesn't respect the recipient much because they would "recycle" an item instead of finding a more appropriate present – something that conveys thoughtfulness and care.

When Can You Regift?

Although most people don't consider regifting a good idea, it can be an appropriate solution in some situations.

  • The regift is useful to the recipient.

Suppose somebody gave you a coffee machine, but your current coffee machine still works fine. You know of a good friend who has been yearning for a coffee maker, and a good brew would totally make their day. You could always regift the coffeemaker to your friend, provided the item still has its original packaging and contents.

  • The regift is not a product of the original giver's best efforts.

You don't want to regift something the original gift-giver put so much thought and effort into giving you. Examples of these gifts are handmade and highly personalised items, such as engravings and embroideries. 

  • The item is brand-new, sealed, and with its original contents. 

You can only regift if the item is intact – secure plastic wrap, unbroken seal, and zero signs of packaging damage or deformity. 

Tips for Meaningful Regifting

Although there are people who don't believe in regifting, you could observe the following tips if you decide to regift:

1. Regift to a different circle of friends.

The giver's feelings should be considered. Hence, it is not a good idea to regift within the same circle of friends. Only regift to someone without contact with your circle of friends, the original gift-giver's social circle, or any overlapping social networks. Doing so prevents any discomfort from the gifter's discovery of the regift. This rule is especially true with unusual items, making their effort unappreciated.

2. Regift items in pristine condition only.

As mentioned, only regift an item in excellent condition. It must be brand-new, with its plastic seal intact. You can assess it for dents, deformities, damage, and indications of wear and tear. 

Check if the product has hidden messages, holographic stickers, and monograms. Some gift-givers personalised or customised their presents. The item might have your initials embossed or engraved on it. Sometimes, gift-givers love tucking a thoughtful message in one of the item's hidden compartments or spaces. A gift with your name on it is inappropriate for regifting.

3. Consider the recipient's needs and preferences. 

Just because it's a regift doesn't mean you can skip giving it a thought. After all, the essence of gifting is appreciating the recipient's role in your life. Hence, ensure the item is something the receiver would love, cherish, and use in their daily lives. It can also remind them of your thoughtfulness.

For example, don't regift a diffuser to a friend who's sensitive to essential oils. Doing otherwise only shows you don't understand their health condition, conveying insensitivity and lack of thought.

4. Enhance the presentation.

Personalise the gift wrap to make it more unique. Use the recipient's favourite colour or theme to guide you in creating a more stunning presentation than when you received it. 

Most gift items have a bigger box for adhering the tape for the gift wrap. Check if it's still in good condition. Otherwise, you can replace it with something sturdier before gift wrapping. 

5. Graciously accept the regift if you're the receiver.

Be gracious and thankful if you're on the receiving end of regifting. People have reasons why they recycle items for gifting, and most come with good intentions. It might be the gift they got for you broke, and there's no time to look for a replacement. It's also possible the re-gift-giver is unsure what to gift. Perhaps you'll have better use of the item they received. Afterall, it's the thoughts that count. 

Final Thoughts

Regifting is a good idea for sustainability reasons and to minimise wastage, given the item is in perfect condition, and there is someone who is putting the item to better use. It is not necessarily a bad good idea when done tactfully. Gifting – original or recycled – requires careful thought to convey your care about the person and show them how much you appreciate their presence in your life.

That's all I've for you in this blog post.

Do you have a question for me or a topic you'd like me to cover? Ask away using the form below. 

With gratitude,

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